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“some obvious gaps in service”
Review of Byzas Tours

Byzas Tours
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Attraction details
Owner description: Istanbul-based tour operator providing daily departure Turkey tours, vacation packages, hotels and custom travel. Destinations include Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cappadocia, Gallipoli, Troy, Bodrum and Antalya. Also specializes in Bosphorus cruises and private yacht rental with Zoe Yacht in Istanbul.
Reviewed October 1, 2013

Like many TA users I was drawn by the positive reviews for Byzas Tours in Istanbul. I booked two separate tours to Cappadoccia and Ephesus with Byzas from Istanbul.
Let me start by saying that it is the common practice of many tour operators to sub-contract
tour operations to other companies or related companies , without the guest being told this ahead. I discovered this by looking at the windshield placard in one of our pick up vans . This speaks to issues of full disclosure and transparency.
The reps I saw waiting at the airport holding up signs are generally young kids. They are told to have you sit and wait , while they work their cell phones in order to trace down the van driver .
I waited for half hour until I was led to my transport van with no other guests.
In one case we had to walk the equivalent of three blocks to find the van parked and waiting.
Seems like the van should have met us at the airport curb instead of requiring me to trek with luggage to a vehicle with a motor and wheels.
I felt cheated by the little time spent at the sights on the itinerary , as well as the little time afforded to eat lunch .
This objection can be easily appreciated by the amount of time that the guide brings tour guests to various tourist traps like a carpet business and a leather goods business.
My Ephesus tour included two separate stops at tourist traps which amounted to two and a half
hours of total selling time ....time which was costing me money.
I realize that there is a commission arrangement in the diverting of guests to stores . The problem lies in the fact that the guests are being cheated out of paid-for time as a way to provide third party commissions . This is an abuse.
The van driver and tour guide engage in other instances of "down time" , which may include returning to a hotel just left , in order to pick up additional guests . Surely this info was already known to the operators.
For the return to the airport in Ephesus , I and other guests were made to walk the equivalent of 5 blocks to the waiting van , instead of the van coming to pick us up . This was at the end of a long and tiring day.

Let me end by saying this ; I had to wake up at 4 in the morning in order to participate in these excursions which involved a trip to the airport, a domestic flight , a wait for transport, one hour of van travel to get to the tour origination site , the time of actual touring , another hour van trip to the airport , the return flight and the return transport to the hotel.
Considering the length of such days , I do not appreciate being routed to tourist traps and being made to walk to transport vans which should be picking me up at door-step

13  Thank gerard n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 27, 2013

Believe it or not, I just came across Byzas Tours via internet when I was searching for Pamukkale - and boy am I glad I did!! From the first email correspondence from Byzas Tours to the every last little details of the one day trip to Pamukkale from Istanbul, they were just excellent. We had a very limited time in Istanbul and we definitely wanted to get Pamukkale trip in and Byzas Tour was there to make this happen. They were reliable (very important in fact that we were planning this from San Francisco), efficient, friendly, courteous, and worry free. Our driver, guide, and everyone that was involved in our trip was just fantastic. I can't recommend them enough and I seriously can't thank them enough for most amazing trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Thank you. If we find ourselves in Turkey again in a few years, we will definitely use Byzas Tours again.

Thank dotkoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

A friend of mine recommended this company before I arrived in Turkey. I was given the responsibility of organizing a day trip to Gallipoli for five people, myself included. We knew it was going to be a long day but we were prepared for that. The van and our driver arrived (on time) and as we were a group of five we were the only ones in the van. It was a really comfortable vehicle and we all settled in for the long drive to Ecebat where we were to meet our guide. As we were all from NZ we had quite specific requests for the journey. The drive there was a brilliant chance to check out the countryside. At Ecebat we had lunch (in the package) and met Aykut (not sure of spelling) and straight away it was clear that he knew what he was talking about. Throughout the day he proved again and again that he possessed deep knowledge and feeling for the Peninsula and for Turkish History. What was lovely too was his knowledge of New Zealand and Australia. He also didn't laugh too much when I asked if we could stop for a swim ay ANZAC Cove. Extremely obliging. I highly recommend this company for a day trip to Gallipoli. ONe final note of warning however. People in Turkey drive fast. Our trip home was late at night and there were many large trucks on the highway. Our driver drove extremely fast on the way back to the hotel. It was a bit scary. In fact we all clapped when we finally touched down back to the hotel. Apart from that, it was a highly successful day.

2  Thank Adele243
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2013

This was a private tour for 6 people covering highlights of Turkey plus a two day tour of Galipoli and Troy.

Our hotel in Istanbul was the Levni Boutique Hotel in the heart of old Istanbul. It was of a very good standard, although we need to mention that major civil engineering works are going on around the Hotel so it can be noisy at times. I understand these are due to be completed soon.

Our first excursion was a fully escorted walking tour of the major tourist sites of Istanbul old city. The Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia Museum and Basilica, and the Grand Bazaar. Our guide Ossie, was a history major and was very knowledgeable about the full history of Turkey.

On the second day we visited the Spice Market and then enjoyed a magnificent cruise on Byzas Zoe Yacht along the European side of the Bosphorus and back along the Asia side.

Then we flew from Istanbul to Kayseri-asr, the major airport for Cappadokia. We were met by the local guide and driven on a tour of northern Cappadokia, including wonderful strange landscapes of rock formations and visited several ancient Christian churches and living areas.
Our hotel for three nights in Cappadokia was the Yunak Evleri, a cave hotel built into the side of the mountains.

The second day began with a balloon flight over Cappadokia, which is, without a doubt, one of the most remarkable and scenic balloon flights anywhere in the world. Better than Valley of the Kings in Egypt and better than Alice Springs.

Our guide Fatih, fully knowledgeable about the areas geography and history, took us on a pleasant 4 km walking tour through the countryside, along creeks and through caves and introduced us to the wonderful array of foods available just from the wild trees and bushes. We continued the day to tour southern Cappadokia, which included an underground early Christian village.

Next we flew to Izmir, and were driven to Kusadasi, where we stayed at a great hotel, the Effe Boutique, on the waterfront. Kusadasi is a wonderful town where we could stroll along the waterfront and enjoy seafood at several cafes and restuarants.
The following morning we were met by another local guide Begun, who escorted us to Pammekkale/Heiropolis, an ancient Greek and Roman city, with terraced natural springs.

The next day Begun escorted us to Ephesus, an ancient Roman city. She was very educated and able to give us a real appreciation of the history of the area, but at the same time, more so than several guides, she was able to encapsulate issues in a way that didn't overload us with history. (The fact that she was possibly the most beautiful girl in the world didn't do any harm).

We returned to Istanbul for another night at the Levni Hotel and had an afternoon free to catch up with shopping and we also visited the old city cistern basilica, an unusual adventure, which we were able to accomplish on our own, with the help of the staff at the Levni Hotel.

The next day we were driven to the Galipoli Peninsula where we were met by our guide Adem, a most engaging and knowledgeable chap, whose speciality is military history. He gave us a grand tour of the battlefields of Galipoli and was able to fill us in on the military history from both sides. The reasons for the battle, the futility of it and the reasons why the Turks succeeded, but at tremendous cost.

The next day Adem took us to ancient Troy where he showed us the result of about 50 years of archeology at the site. Still only about 10% excavated, but of tremendous age, back to several thousand years BC.

Whilst in the area we stayed overnight at the Akol Hotel in Cannakkale, an excellent Hotel situated adjacent the harbour.

We returned to Istanbul by small coach and experienced the sheer madness of Istanbul traffic during peak periods - an experience in itself.

Overall, all connections were met, all pickups were on time, all guides were excellent and all hotels were about 4 star and satisfactory.

We would fully recommend Byzas for touring in Turkey. We had the same tour costed by an Australian travel agency at almost exactly twice the price.

4  Thank Lee M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2013

We had a fabulous time. It was fascinating to see what was built B.C. How did they manage to accomplish what they did? Askin was great personal guide. We were picked up from the dock early and dropped off on time to sail. We went to Mary's house and then on to the ruins. Askin's English was perfect and he made sure we went to an authentic Turkish restaurant for lunch and helped us order! Don't be afraid to book a tour with Byzas Tours. They are very professional and kept in touch with us before we left the US. I suggest bringing a camera, good walking shoes, water, sunscreen and an umbrella to shield you from the very hot sun. I saw many cats, I gave them water, but they were starving, if you have it in your heart, bring a handful of cat kibble. I wish I would've known.

Thank BubnesParty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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